13 Jan 2016

Snow expected as cold Arctic air digs in

There’s no doubt that we’ve all felt a distinct chill in the air during the past few days, with Artic air flooding southwards across the UK.

So far this week, away from the hills and mountains in the north of the UK, there has been little in the way of snowfall – especially lying on the ground.

However, that is about to change for some places, as an area of low pressure brings some snow to parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales tonight and tomorrow – locally down to sea-level.

Snow fall

It’s by no means an easy forecast to make, as it’ll be a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow. But still, it’s possible to tease out the detail of places most likely to see snow.

Where is snow most likely?

At the moment, snow is most likely to fall across Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales – mainly over the hills and mountains, but not exclusively so.

snowy_warning_MO_wpIn terms of snow lying on the ground, this is most likely to be confined to central and southern Scotland, the Northern Isles and northern parts of England – where yellow and amber Met Office weather warnings have been issued.

As much as 5-10cm could fall down to sea-level over the Northern Isles and parts of central and southern Scotland, with 15cm possible over modest hills above 100-200 metres.

In northern England, lying snow will mainly be over the hills and mountains, where 3-10cm could fall, although there could be a slushy covering down to sea-level in parts of West and North Yorkshire west of the A1 road.

Ice an additional hazard

Whilst some places will see some lying snow through tonight and tomorrow, the more general wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow sliding southwards across the UK will bring a risk of ice.

IceWith moisture on the ground and temperatures widely falling close to or below freezing, ice is likely to form on untreated surface – especially for northern areas.

Temperatures are widely expected to fall to around 0C in towns and cities across the UK tonight, but over snow cover in Scotland, temperatures could locally fall down to -10C.

How long will the cold weather last?

Initially, some of the weather computer models were suggesting that the cold weather would come to an end this weekend, with mild air sweeping in off the Atlantic.

However, in this kind of weather set-up, weather computer models can be too quick in bringing in milder air. Cold air is dense and hard to move, so it often ends up being the case that it lingers for longer.

cold_battle_TT_wpThis certainly seems to be happening in this situation, with more recent forecasts hinting that the cold weather will linger into next week – especially for northern and eastern parts of the UK.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting regular updates on Twitter, where you can send me your weather pictures – @liamdutton

Tweets by @liamdutton